|Today's 2 examples of digestion under way...
Rajiv Malhotra posts:
I wanted to say one thing more about Being Different: I am delighted that Sri Aurobindo is so frequently cited there, and find your work to be firmly in his tradition (in modern India, none is greater). ... I could not quite cognitively defend your (and Bhartrhari's, Abhinava's) thesis that (as Raja Rao put it to me once), "the essence of each thing is its [Sanskrit] name vibrating in the absolute." On the other hand, as a meditator I perform that premise every day when I chant "Om."
Finally, I want to nominate the Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism (ARAS) to the Infinity Foundation for possible support of efforts to expand the representation of Indian images. ...ARAS is a Jungian instituton with roots in the Eranos conferences in the 1930s and after. See aras.org if this is of interest.
Rajiv comment: Jung's Eranos conferences produced some of the greatest digestors on the past century – including Joseph Campbell, Eliade, Paul Tillich, etc. Now the above scholar who has practiced sadhana in Auroville is wanting funds from Infinity, to support work by his wife that would remap his mining of Sri Aurobindo for 25 years into western univeralism. He also told me with [pride] that his son is going for a phd under a prominent Indian scholar of religion in Florida, and how under her guidance all the dharma he learned will get "harmonized" with western thought. That scholar in Florida is well known for promoting sameness , digestion, Aryan theory, etc. She is also popular at temples where she goes in sari with heavy jewelry and talks about the greatness of Hinduism. Hates me for calling her duplicity…
Example 2: Read the Patheos.com comment discussion on my book.... Read onereview by Brianne Donaldson...
See the comments after her review. These explain how she as head of dharma studies at a prominent university is in fact on a mining expedition to help further plagiarism. Her role in digestion is to promote whitehead who digested abhidharma Buddhism into his own repackaged versions, and to erase the dharmic sources. Ironically, she then uses Whitehead to criticize BD. Pls read and participate there."
"....I understand well how digestion works, thanks for your concrete examples and I am also reading your book BD. I wonder who is the Florida scholar .... Although India is not my native land, I learn so much about how mental, universalism digestive scholarly colonization continues in mining expeditions of indigenous cultures"
Jayakumar shares his response to Brianne at Patheos:
"... The reviewer Brianne Donaldson is commenting on a narrow portion of a several-hundred page book.
Winning and Dominating are important for the West. Dharma is too subtle and is not encumbered by such needs. Openness, friendliness, originality and expertise by dharma practitioners have been exploited in well-honed and subtle ways. On the other extreme, Universities in India are out of touch of indigenous thought and engaged in mimicry of the West. Genuine ashrams in India which represent the tenor of age-old discourses, techniques and knowledge embodiments are neither funded by the State nor by corporations nor by universities. These ashrams and their living practitioners live and die on a daily basis without much ado. So who is to protect such time-tested critical knowledge-bases?
Malhotra isn't advocating cessation of dialog or collaborations. he is merely stating motivations and intentions in Western Scholarship and collaborations and demonstrating that with real data. Nothing should stop Claremont Lincoln University from pursuing what they do. Cross-fertilization is between equals. Dharma has a long way to go until it gains as stature equal to the West. Until then, it will only be a good 'subject' to study, dharma will be '˜cool'.
Reviewer Brianne is concerned about some perceived social inadequacies in India [gay taboo, dearth of female Indian voices]. This is based on a flawed logic that social problems in a country are a direct result of its religious or spiritual worldviews. However, addressing India's social or cultural problems is not Rajiv thesis - just as there is no requirement that every study of America MUST focus on its racism and other problems. Another implication of this stated concern is that the West either appoints itself as the solver of social problems in other countries, or has the authority to hold accountable speakers from those countries for those problems. Do US school shootings, drug abuse, or teenage pregnancies invalidate the Principle of Liberty? The West has done a superb job of separating abhorrent practices (like slavery) from Religion or State by stating them as 'topical' problems. Why does the west get to set the agenda of what constitutes 'topics of interest' about India - is this not itself a sign of Western Universalism?
There is no denying that Rajiv Malhotra's Being Different raises questions that can make many uncomfortable. For example:
Is a Sannyasi same as a Saint? Is Iswara same as God? Is itihasa same has history? Is lack of well-chronicled linear history same as lack of definiteness of discourse or continuity and originality of thought? Can a History of the 'Other' written by the West be considered as True History? Does an assertion self-identity by other traditions imply cessation of dialog and cross-pollination? Can a scholar of Jainism (regardless of nationality) be the same as a Jain? Does a Professor of Asia Studies have the same authority to speak for Hinduism as a Hindu Sannyasi? Is an article written by a Christian about Hinduism appearing in high school text books same as a similar article written by a Hindu? Does a Western scientist studying the mind of Buddhist have the same authority to speak about advanced states of consciousness as the Buddhist 'subject' himself or herself? Is the Whitehead Research Project in reality another Dharma Mining Project? What are the criteria that must be satisfied in order for a Dharma Traditions Initiative in a US University to work in favor of those same traditions? Who should control discourse - the perceiver or the perceived? Some answers are clear, while others may take some time to develop.
I am surprised that the reviewer saw in Rajiv's book a '˜quest to divide the world into West and East. ...
I found the title of Brianne's review interesting. Can the West wear any less of its Westernized spectacles than Indians any less their Indianized spectacles? It would be an ideal world where none of us had spectacles. The problem is that even the Indian wears Westernized Spectacles making the scales very tilted! This is where Rajiv's work has its greatest impact.
Perhaps in the Reviewer is an earnest struggle to connect the West with a more holistic dharma world-view. I've noticed and I do applaud the reviewer Brianne Donaldson for her active non-violent championing of animal rights such sensitivity is expected of Jains and those who claim to represent dharma traditions. I hope comments on this website will serve to improve her dissertation."
RMF Summary: Week of March 5 - 11, 2012